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Peter Fossett

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Rev. Peter Fossett
Wendell P. Dabney,
Cincinnati's Colored Citizens, 1926

Rev. Peter Fossett
Wendell P. Dabney, Cincinnati's Colored Citizens, 1926

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Rev. Peter Fossett (courtesy of Cumminsville Baptist Church)

Rev. Peter Fossett (courtesy of Cumminsville Baptist Church)

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Sarah Mayrant (Mrs. Peter) Fossett (Wendell P. Dabney, Cincinnati's Colored Citizens, 1926)

Sarah Mayrant (Mrs. Peter) Fossett (Wendell P. Dabney, Cincinnati's Colored Citizens, 1926)

Dates alive: 
1815–1901
Occupation: 
Minister; Household servant; Waiter; Caterer

Peter Fossett, the son of Joseph Fossett and Edith Hern Fossett was sold, along with his mother and siblings, at the 1827 dispersal sale following Jefferson's death.  When his father, who had been freed in Jefferson’s will, earned enough money to purchase him, Peter’s new owner refused to sell him. Peter Fossett twice tried to run away, without success. Finally, in 1850, he was purchased out of slavery through the efforts of his free family members.

He joined his parents and siblings in Cincinnati, where he became one of the city’s most prominent caterers, a conductor on the Underground Railroad, and a renowned Baptist minister. In an interview in 1898, he spoke of his struggles to learn to read and write by stealth and how writing skills allowed him to forge free papers to help fellow slaves to escape. He and his wife, Sarah Mayrant Fossett, were active in a number of civic organizations as well as in the church they founded. 

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